Traders in Kabale Municipality were yesterday perplexed after police halted the ongoing construction of a market on its own land in Kigongi Kabale Municipality.
Traders and construction workers say they were shocked when they arrived at the site in the morning to find heavily armed anti-riot police deployed.
Police officers who were led by one Kenneth Asiimwe, without explaining more, ordered traders to stay away since construction has been halted until further notice.
Kabale Police made an agreement with traders from the Kabale Central Market and local leaders to lend them part of the barracks land to set up a temporary market.
The main market is undergoing reconstruction under the MATIIP Program
The agreement, which was reached in March this year between Police, led by AIGP Godfrey Bangirana, the police Director of Engineering and Logistics and Municipality leaders, was to allow temporary relocation of traders dealing in foodstuffs, to the Kabale Police Barracks playground located along Kabale-Mbarara Road.
Top police officials however, are now accusing traders and Municipality authorities of opting to construct permanent structures yet they had agreed on temporary (wooden) structures.
An officer speaking to us anonymously says police had also received information that traders and Kabale Municipality were planning to use the playground for the next 49 years yet they had agreed only two years.
Simon Mashemererwa the Kabale central market traders association leader blames the whole mess on poor leadership of Kabale Mayor Sentaro Byamugisha.
He says the mayor, going against the guidelines of the MATTIP program, took over the relocation process from the Municipal Engineer.
“He was the one measuring the plots; he’s the one who directed construction of permanent structures,” Mashemererwa said.
“Our mayor is to blame. He never consults with the council. Government needs to intervene in this matter so that traders don’t lose their money.”
Sam Arinaitwe, the Chairman LC3 for Central Division however, called for calm saying that the issue was administrative and was being handled.
On his part, Mayor Byamugisha, blamed the hitch on sabotage from a group of traders who secretly influenced top police officials to halt the works.